Passengers’ appetite for convenience drove a 10% year-on-year rise in food sales across the Christmas period at railway stations throughout the UK, according to Network Rail.
Over a six-week period ending 22 December, Network Rail announced total sales growth of 2.3% at its managed stations during the festive period, with more than £93.8m in total sales. Retailers in the health and beauty category led the growth (13%) followed by food (10%) and news, books and confectionery (9%).
The data also showed there was a 1% increase in retail footfall, comparing favourably against results in the latest BRC-Springboard and Vacancies Monitor, which showed that overall UK retail footfall was down 2.6%.
Network Rail Property managing director, David Biggs, said: “We are committed to delivering a positive experience for the 900 million people who use our stations each year, and therefore any decisions we make around our retail portfolio are centred on what our passengers want.
“Of course, there are wider challenges in the retail market and this has affected some retailers, but today’s results show that our strategy is paying off and that convenience is most definitely king, with station retail continuing to outperform the high-street.
“This is also at a time that we are investing in and upgrading our stations, which impacts on retail. However, this will have long-term positive effects - helping the railway to grow and improve for passengers, whilst creating great places for communities to thrive.”
In London, London Bridge (+74.7%), Paddington (+10.7%) and Charing Cross (+7.6%) showed the highest total sales growth, while Edinburgh Waverley (+3.5%) and Birmingham New Street (+2.9%) were the best performers outside of the capital.